The witness of Samuel's Faith - Part 7:
"And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:" - Hebrews 11:3232 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
. The last person identified by name in Hebrews 11 is Samuel who was chosen before he was born to be Israel's priest, the last of Israel's Judges and the first great prophet, Acts 3:24 & 13:20. Beginning when he was a boy God spoke directly to him. He obeyed God's Word to the letter. His witness of faith foreshadowed Jesus Christ, the faith that was to come. He was a type of and pointed to Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of faith, Hebrews 12:22 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
God had Samuel search out and anoint Saul as king of Israel even though doing so was a result of Israel having rejected God as their ruler. Saul was Israel's choice (chosen by the will of man) to be their king, but regardless God filled him with His Spirit. But even though Saul was provided with the wherewithal to do the job he failed because of the weakness of the flesh, on at least two occasions. The first was when he and his army faced a multitude of battle ready Philistines. Samuel had told him to wait seven days for Samuel to come and offer a sacrifice. Instead of waiting the full seven days Saul waited only until the beginning of the seventh day and when Samuel had not yet arrived he offered the sacrifice himself. Samuel arrived a little later that day and told him he had disobeyed God and would lose his position as king because of his disobedience, 1 Samuel 13:7 - 147 And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.
8 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.
9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.
10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.
11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;
12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.
13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.
14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.
Then Saul failed again. At God's instructions, Samuel told him to kill every man, woman and child of the Amalekites, and all their animals. Four hundred years before, Amalek had attacked Israel when they were weak and defenseless shortly after they left Egypt. That was the occasion when Joshua led the defense of Israel and he prevailed as long as Moses held up his arms. (Aaron and Hur had to help hold them up when he got tired.) At that time, and again later, God said he would eventually destroy all the Amalekites, Exodus 17:8 - 168 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.
10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
12 But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.
15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:
16 For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.
, Deuteronomy 25:17 - 1917 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;
18 How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.
19 Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.
. Now, 400 years later, God gave Saul the responsibility to carry out His judgment but Saul failed. He killed everyone except Agag the Amalekite king and the best of their sheep and oxen. When confronted by Samuel about this he claimed the people had saved the animals to sacrifice to God, 1 Samuel 15:1 - 211 Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.
2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
4 And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.
5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley.
6 And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.
7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.
8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
10 Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying,
11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.
12 And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.
13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD.
14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.
16 Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.
17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?
18 And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.
19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?
20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.
Samuel told Saul the Lord much preferred obedience to His Word over burnt sacrifices and that disobedience to His Word was as witchcraft and Saul's stubbornness in making excuses for what he had not done was sin and idolatry. Because of Saul's sin God rejected him as king, 1 Samuel 15:22 & 2322 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
. Saul claimed he recognized his sin and was sorry but Samuel told him the Lord had taken the kingdom from him, 1 Samuel 15:24 - 3124 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD.
26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent.
28 And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.
30 Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God.
31 So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LORD.
. Samuel then had Agag brought to him. He pronounced that as Agag's sword had made women childless so would his mother be childless and proceeded to cut him into pieces before the Lord, 1 Samuel 15:32 & 3332 Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.
33 And Samuel said, As the sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.
, and so the old man Samuel had to do what Saul was supposed to have done.
Samuel mourned over Saul's downfall to the point God had to tell him to get over it, that He had chosen another to be king and Samuel was to go with a horn of oil to anoint him. Samuel was afraid of what Saul would do to him if he found out he was involved in this so to allay his fear God told him to take a heifer and tell any who asked that he was going to sacrifice to the Lord. He was directed to the town of Bethlehem and a man named Jessie who lived there. While sacrificing to the Lord Jessie presented his sons as candidates for king, one by one, beginning with the oldest but God told Samuel to reject each. At Samuel's request, David, Jessie's youngest, was called out and God told Samuel to anoint him as Israel's new king. The Spirit of the Lord came upon David as It left King Saul who was then troubled by an evil spirit, 1 Samuel 15:35 - 16:14.
The unbelieving critics of this world take issue with all this. First, they will question how a loving, merciful God could order the killing of an entire nation; all the men, women and children of the Amalekites. Second, they will question why God rejected Saul as king when he failed to obey two orders that would appear to be minor in nature while on the other hand He chose David as king seeing that David went on to commit adultery and have the husband of his adulteress relationship killed. (And that husband was a very honorable and loyal man.) The critic will ask how God could not forgive Saul for two such apparent minor infractions while He not only forgave David his egregious violations but ordained that His own son, Jesus Christ, would issue from David's linage. The critic will point out that, after all, Saul said he was sorry, just like David did later. Why forgive David and call him a man after God's own heart and condemn Saul?
The answer to all the critic's questions are found in the Lord's statement to Samuel at the time He rejected Jessie's oldest son as candidate for king to replace Saul: "But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:77 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
So the answer to the critic's first question is that the Lord knew the Amalekites through and through. Both as a nation and individually they were arch enemies of God and His people. They were idol worshippers and wicked to the bone, threats to His people.
As to why the Lord did not accept Saul's excuse and plea for forgiveness but forgave David: He knew their hearts. In comparison we might ask how we judge whether someone crossing us today is truly sorry for what they have done and whether they have truly changed. An adulteress wife or husband tells their spouse they are sorry for what they did, but, are they truly sorry or are they only sorry they were caught? The same goes for the criminal who is caught. Does he or she truly have a repentant heart or are they just sorry they got caught. We human's who are called upon to forgive do so without knowing what is really in another's heart but God knows every heart and all the motives behind what comes out in the open. So the Lord knew Saul's and David's hearts, just like He knows our hearts today.
In the Old Testament and in the New from the Gospels through the first part of the book of Acts God dealt with Israel, His earthly people. So it was He ordered the literal destruction of Israel's enemies, just as it was necessary to offer animal sacrifices to temporarily cover the sins of His people. But after Jesus Christ finished His work of redemption and reconciliation about 2000 years ago and Israel as a nation subsequently rejected Him, He chose Saul of Tarsus who became the Apostle Paul to reveal a heavenly calling to all who believe in Him, Ephesians 1:1 - 101 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Since believers today have a heavenly calling our warfare has nothing to do with destroying anyone on earth or animal sacrifices, but is a spiritual battle: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;" Ephesians 6:10 - 1810 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Our next study will recap how Samuel was a type of Jesus Christ and his witness of faith pointed to the work that was completed by Jesus.